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Wright County News

Posted on: January 2, 2020

Qualified County Residents Can Apply for First-Time Home Buyer Program

For many, the dream of home ownership is a goal set at a young age, but often can be a daunting challenge for young people looking to avoid building a debt burden early in life or have difficulty coming up with the needed money to make a down payment at the time of purchasing a mortgage.

However, a program that has been around Wright County for more than a decade is making the dream of owning a home a reality for many low-income families.

TheMinnesota Housing Finance Agency – founded in 1971 – has assisted in funding more 400,000 home purchases and renovations throughout the state. Wright County’s involvement in the Minnesota Cities Participation Program (MCPP) First-Time Home Buyer Program dates back to 2008 and is entering its 13th year.

Under the requirements of the MCPP, low-income homeowners – defined as earning less than 80 percent of the median income for the specific area in which they live – can get low interest mortgages and assistance making a down payment, which has often been the stumbling block for those that have a limited income.

In 2019, the MCPP allocated more than $60 million for the First-Time Home Buyer Program, of which Wright County received $2.19 million – the eighth-highest allocation amount of the 42 county, city and regional development/HRA organizations that received allocations. Of the $2.19 million, 82 loans were taken out for home purchases in Wright County, which ranked seventh overall.

The 82 eligible MCPP loans taken out in 2019 were spread around throughout the county – 16 in Monticello, 14 in Otsego, 11 in Montrose, 10 in Buffalo, six in St. Michael, five in Clearwater, four in Albertville, three in Howard Lake, three in Maple Lake, three in Rockford, two in Annandale, two in Waverly, one in Cokato, one in Hanover and one in South Haven.

Kasey Kier, assistant commissioner of Minnesota Housing’s Single Family Division, said the MCPP program has been a success throughout the state, with Wright County being one of the leaders in terms of consistent participation and use of its annual allocation.

“Wright County has consistently been a place where the allocation gets used up quickly,” Kier said. “The First-Time Home Buyer Program has been a popular program for lower-income families to get into a home and we’re pleased how well it has been received. Wright County has used up its allocation year after year and it has been a big success there.”

While the Wright County Board of Commissioners needs to sign off on participation in the MCPP, which it did for 202 at its Dec. 31 meeting, the county has nothing to do with the program aside from authorizing it. The MCPP is a program that deals directly between the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and local lending institutions. 

No fixed allocation amounts for 2020 have been announced yet, but the formula used to distribute the funds will likely have Wright County receiving similar funding to what was received in 2019 ($2.19 million). The 2020 program begins Jan. 16 and runs through Nov. 30 or when the local allocation has been exhausted. More times than not, Wright County’s allocation has been used up well before the Nov. 30 deadline.

For more information about the MCPP and the First-Time Home Buyer Program, contact a local bank to see if it is participating in the program or visit the Minnesota Housing website here: 

http://www.mnhousing.gov/sites/Satellite?c=Page&cid=1358904711497&pagename=External%2FPage%2FEXTHomeLayout

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